Friday, March 23, 2007


Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the history of GUIDING LIGHT has heard the name "Diane Ballard" and probably more than once. We hear of the famous "Who Killed Diane Ballard?" mystery. We hear of her legendary and years-long pining for Alan. But if you're like me, you've never had a chance to see anything more than the episode in which she dies unless you were an actual viewer during that time period.
Machinations spans most of the month before Diane's murder and gives a fascinating picture of who this woman was in her final days in Springfield. Examined in special depth are her fiery relationship with Joe Bradley, her easy comraderie with Carrie Todd (new in Springfield, but not new to Diane), and of course her single-minded fixation on Alan Spaulding, which verges on a weird sort of obsessive tenderness. Ross, Henry, Vanessa, Jackie, and Mike also appear prominently in this clipset.

Sofia Landon (now known as Sofia Landon Geier and writing for DAYS OF OUR LIVES) displays an incredible screen presence and command of the script as Diane. Watching her in these nearly 26-year-old clips makes me really sad that her character was killed. Diane and Sofia are both extraordinary.

Some of you may know that Geier experienced a great personal tragedy in 2004 when her daughter, Hallie, was accidentally run over by an SUV (I am not a fan of the SUV anyway.) The following comes from :

"Daytime Unites for Africa was developed and coordinated by LOVE, HALLIE Foundation. LOVE, HALLIE was founded by soap opera writer and actress Sofia Landon Geier and her husband Ted Geier after their eleven year-old daughter Hallie died in 2004 after being accidentally run over by an SUV. LOVE, HALLIE and its youth division – Hal’s Angels – chaired by Hallie’s 16 year-old sister M.J. – encourages kindness, respect, and positive action among young people. Hallie had been saving money to help children affected by AIDS in Africa and had written extensively on the subject. LOVE, HALLIE takes it’s name from the words Hallie wrote on the first page of her kindergarten notebook: “People, be nice to each other. Love, Hallie”

I knew about this foundation and had heard this story before, but that was before I was familiar with Geier's performances on GL. She organized an industry-wide recognition of the AIDS crisis in Africa during which all nine soaps recognized the emergency on air in order to raise awareness. Some of you may remember this clip from late 2005 (click here) in which Dinah came into Harley's office at Spaulding with a plan to cut back on the coffee spending at the company and donate the money to AIDS prevention in Africa. That was part of Geier's project, as was ONE LIFE TO LIVE's AIDS relief album that came out last year.
But I digress! From late Summer of 1981, here's Machinations. And one last note: this series, occurring as it does as Maeve Kinkead goes on maternity leave, contains two Vanessas. Kinkead appears through most of the set, with Anna Stuart (ex-Donna, ANOTHER WORLD; ex-Mary Smythe, AMC) taking over toward the end.


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